The Energy Bulletin: Regulations round-up November 2015

The Energy Bulletin brings you the latest updates for regulatory changes in the business energy market. This November 2015, we recap on Energy Secretary Amber Rudd’s ‘Energy Reset’ speech.

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Energy Secretary delivers her long awaited ‘Energy Reset’ speech

This month we focus on the speech delivered on the 18 November by Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. Her ‘energy reset’ speech outlined the new direction of Conservative energy policy and how the Government expects to deliver a secure, affordable and clean energy system.  Highlights of the speech include: a set date for the closure of coal-fired stations; potential subsidy auctions for offshore wind; and plans for more gas-fired power plants.

A link to the full speech is available here.

During the speech the Energy Secretary made the following points:

  • Described the UK’s dependence on coal, ‘the dirtiest fossil fuel’, as a risk to the UK’s energy security. To catalyse the move towards a cleaner and more reliable energy network, she heralded a generation shift from coal to gas, and announced a consultation on ending unabated coal-fired power stations by 2025, to be launched next Spring.
  • Outlined the Government’s commitment to build new gas-fired power stations over the next 10 years which will tackle falling margins in electricity supply, and provide cheaper energy for hard-working households.
  • Hailed gas as a cornerstone of the UK’s future energy security, and said the Government would remain committed to pursuing the exploration of shale gas in light of the country’s over-reliance on gas imports from other countries.
  • Nuclear power to have a central role in the UK’s energy future, as is both safe and reliable, but like other low carbon technologies must become low cost as well. To reverse the legacy of under-investment, the Government will seek to build a fleet of new nuclear power stations and explore new opportunities such as Small Modular Reactors.
  • Need to bolster the UK’s green credentials, and encourage investor confidence in the renewables sector. Government would remain committed to off-shore wind. She announced that if the Government’s conditions on cost reduction are met, they would make funding available for three auctions during the course of this Parliament. They intend the first of these auctions to be held by the end of 2016.
  • On Climate Change, a reiteration of the Government’s desire to reach a deal in Paris in December, and said the UK was on track to meet its next two carbon budgets. The Government will be setting out plans for meeting the fourth and fifth Carbon budgets in 2016.
  • Outlined the Government’s vision for a ‘smarter system’, and stressed the desire to look at removing regulations that are holding back smart solutions, such as demand side response and storage. A fully smart system will ultimately save ‘tens of billions of pounds over the decades ahead’, and that DECC would shortly be launching a paper setting out some of the possibilities, followed by a consultation in Spring.
  • Noted that North Sea still offers significant value for the UK, and launched a consultation on a Strategy to Maximise the Economic Recovery of the North Sea.
  • Government is committed to fostering innovation, and that DECC would set out its approach next year on increasing the role of heat.
  • Regarding R&D, acknowledged that the Government cannot support every technology. She said, ‘our intervention has to be limited to where we can really make a difference- where the technology has the potential to scale up and to compete in a global market without subsidy’.

 

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